Thermal cameras are now accepted as an integral tool for hikers, ranchers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and guides and can be used for tracking and location identification of game and personnel in total darkness, smoke and fog. Thermal Cameras are used to measure surface temperature and temperature differential of surrounding areas and are now used for the hunter and outdoor enthusiast as well as for Industrial, Residential, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Fire, Security and Marine Safety uses. Handheld thermal cameras offer the user the ability to see objects and game clearly in total darkness. These Cameras are powered by the same advanced thermal camera technology that is used in military and law enforcement.
The human eye uses reflected light to visualize and produce an image. Daylight cameras, night-vision devices, and the human eye all work on the same basic principle. When light energy reflects off of an object, our eyes receive that signal and produce the appropriate image. In darkness, or in fog, or in smoke, we are limited to the external light provided. If there isn’t enough light or the artificial light is not sufficient, we no longer see clearly or see at all. When using night vision devices, the available light is magnified to produce an image. These devices have range limitations especially in extremely low-light conditions. It becomes difficult to view or recognize an object or produce any contrast for the image we would like to find. The thermal contrast between an object and its surroundings is what outdoorsman and hunting enthusiasts are seeking.
These thermal cameras are designed for the user in the field and are easy to pack, easy to use and deliver a high-quality thermal image. They are powerful personal thermal cameras that are affordable enough to give every outdoorsman the unsurpassed practical advantages of full-resolution thermal imaging camera night vision. The link below explains additional information on Camera selection.
Suggested Personnel for Outdoor Thermal Cameras
- BLM Officers
- Forest Service Rangers
- Fire Lookouts
- Video or Image Recording for Reporting
- Search & Rescue
- Ranch Management
- Professional Guides
- Expert Outdoorsmen
Thermal Camera Advantages
Different Pixel Resolutions
Detector resolution is based on the pixel array (detector size) that each camera contains. When using a Thermal Camera for Outdoors and Hunting, this resolution is one factor in determining the sharpness and clarity of the object or person you are viewing. Cameras with larger pixel arrays, (as well as choosing an appropriate lens for “Field of View” and any special electronics being added to the optical circuit), can measure smaller targets at longer distances that would be sharper and in greater detail. As the pixel array increases in size and the focal length is increased, changes in thermal visibility will be extended over a longer distance. Please see the “Field of View” (FOV) paragraph below and the lens selection link. The following link will describe lens and distance. Given a fixed pixel array, the FOV will determine the objects distance and visibility and detail that will be displayed. With Outdoor cameras, it is the presence of heat, either from a human or animal, that is expected and the pixel resolution will assist in viewing sought after objects.
Image and Video Capture Options
Thermal cameras may have video and photo image storage capacity. If the camera is capable, you will be able take and save images while in the field. These cameras may be supplied with an SD Card (or similar storage device) which allows for the capture of still images and video evidence on the removable SD card. Cameras may also contain output connections i.e. USB or RCA connector for video downloading. If needed for your application, please check the specifications of the camera of your choice. Does your camera choice have the ability to record video for downloading at a later time? Selection of your camera will be based on your requirements and applications.
Multiple Lens Options
There are a variety of lens options which will determine the “Field of View” and the “Distance to the Subject” capacity. Click here to take an in-depth look at lens options and models.
FOV - Field Of View
The FOV or “Field of View” is the area of the image that is measured and viewed on the imager screen. The lens has the greatest influence on the total view, but a larger pixel array (matrix) may provide greater detail of desired temperature gradient. By choosing the appropriate lens with a specific pixel array, you are also determining the length of visual capability for the Camera .Depending on Department regulations and areas of responsibility, lenses may be chosen to math specific requirements. Selecting a lens.
There are two choices that you may have, depending on the camera and the application. Most traditional Thermal Cameras have an open eyepiece non-shuttered or visual display (similar to a digital camera) to view the thermal image. When considering a hunting or outdoor camera, there may be many opportunities for security from animals or intruders, especially in the darkness. The open eyepiece, non-shuttered, would also radiate some visible light at the eyepiece. A shuttered eyepiece keeps light from coming out of the viewfinder and avoids alarming animals or other target subjects. The user is the only person who is able to see the image.
Three (3) Selectable Palettes – White Hot, Black Hot, and the Powerful Instalert™ Detection
The selection for display preference will allow the user to utilize White Hot, Black Hot or Instalert™ display. The display is a user’s choice selection. The Instalert™ allows the user to actually stipulate a temperature alarm for “red” indication.
Figure 3 - White Hot, Black Hot, InstAlert
Figure 4 - InstalAlert
Always consult federal, state, and local laws governing fishing, hunting, and shooting sports prior to the use of these thermal/infrared night vision camera to ensure full compliance with all appropriate regulations governing sportsman use.
Thermal Cameras add a sense of competitiveness and awareness to “nighttime” and “outdoor” activities. It has been said that “Knowledge is Power”. Certainly for the “great Outdoors”, having a Thermal Camera at your side adds knowledge that may have been missing. Please call our Certified Thermographers for additional information and assistance on your next application.
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